why does my cat smell like poop

Why Does My Cat Smell Like Poop? Exploring the Reasons and Solutions

Curious about why your cat smells like poop? Explore possible reasons behind this unpleasant odor, including digestive issues, hygiene problems, or underlying health conditions.

If you’re a cat owner, you’ve probably experienced the not-so-pleasant scent that sometimes lingers around your feline friend. Since cats are usually meticulous groomers, this peculiar smell might come as a surprise.

Cats are experts at self-grooming to stay pristine and maintain their luxurious coats. But let’s face it, sometimes that distinctive poop smell creeps in, and it’s not exactly pleasant. Don’t worry! As a veterinarian, I’ve come across this problem numerous times.

This article is here to offer you some insights into why your cat might smell like poop and how you can prevent or address this issue. Let’s get your furry friend smelling fresh and clean!

I’ll unravel the mysteries behind this pungent odor and share practical solutions to ensure your feline friend exudes nothing but irresistible freshness!

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the possible reasons for a cat smelling like poop
  • Learn how to prevent or address this issue to maintain your cat’s hygiene
  • Gain insights on cat grooming habits and maintaining a clean environment for your pet

Why Does My Cat Smell Like Poop?

cat in litter box

There are many possible factors that can make your cat smell like poop, and some of them are more serious than others. It’s important to identify the source of the odor and consult a veterinarian if necessary. Here are a few reasons your cat might be emitting a foul odor:

Dirty Litter Box: Keeping a clean and well-maintained litter box is essential for your cat’s hygiene. Some cats, especially kittens, might play inside their litter box, inadvertently spreading feces all over their fur. Ensure that you clean the litter box regularly to prevent your cat from smelling like poop.

Gastrointestinal Problems: Cats can be sensitive to their food. Feeding them low-quality cat food with unnecessary fillers and a lack of essential vitamins can have a negative impact on their digestive system. It’s not uncommon for cats with gastrointestinal issues to experience flatulence and diarrhea, which can lead to an unpleasant odor.

Outdoors Adventures: If your cat spends a lot of time outdoors, they might get dirty by rooting through garbage or chasing prey into someone’s compost heap.

Infected Anal Glands: The most serious but least common cause of a cat smelling like poop is infected anal glands. It is essential to consult your veterinarian if you suspect this issue, as it requires medical attention.

To identify the source of the odor, it’s helpful to check your cat for signs of poop on their fur, skin, or anal glands. Look for any traces of feces or unusual discharge, and gently part the fur around their hindquarters to inspect the skin.

Remember, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian if the source of your cat’s foul smell remains a mystery. They can provide a thorough examination and recommend appropriate treatments to keep your cat healthy and odor-free.

Why Does My Cat Smell Like Poop After Pooping?

One of the most common reasons why your cat smells like poop after pooping is because they have feces stuck on their fur or paws. So, what factors contribute to this problem, and what can you do to prevent or resolve it?

Long-haired cats are particularly prone to having feces stuck in their fur around their rear end. In such cases, keeping their hair trimmed near their hindquarters can help prevent this issue.

In fact I’ve written a whole article to help if your cat frequently gets poop stuck to their rear end.

If your cat is experiencing diarrhea, the consistency of their poop may make it more likely to cling to their fur or paws. In these situations, it’s essential to address the root cause of the diarrhea, which may involve changing their diet or consulting your veterinarian for advice on treatment.

Did you know that poor litter box hygiene can contribute to the problem? Bacteria just love a dirty litter box, increasing the chances of your cat getting dirty after using the restroom. To keep things clean and fresh, make sure to regularly clean your cat’s litter box – at least once a day – and replace the litter entirely every week.

Here are some tips to help prevent or remove feces from your cat’s fur or paws:

  • Trim the hair around their rear end, particularly for long-haired cats.
  • Change their diet if they’re experiencing diarrhea, and consult your veterinarian for guidance.
  • Clean the litter box daily to maintain a hygienic environment for your feline friend.

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your cat clean, healthy, and free from any unpleasant poop-related odors. Just remember to be patient and consistent in your efforts, and soon enough, you’ll both enjoy a fresher-smelling home.

How Do You Deal With The Issue?

Once you have identified the cause of your cat’s odor, there are various steps you can take to help keep your furry friend smelling fresh and clean. By focusing on maintaining cleanliness and ensuring your cat’s overall health, you can deal with the issue effectively.

First things first, let’s talk about the litter box. Maintaining a clean litter box for your cat is crucial, as a dirty one can cause unpleasant odors to cling to your cat’s fur. Make sure to clean the litter box regularly and replace the litter when needed; this can be one of the main reasons a cat starts pooping outside the litter box.

If your cat is pooping outside the litter box, you can try introducing scents into the house to prevent this behavior.

Now, let’s address your cat’s diet. A high-quality diet can make a big difference in preventing gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea and flatulence, which may contribute to your cat smelling like poop. Consult your vet to identify any potential food allergies your cat might have and adjust their diet accordingly. If your cat has diarrhea or any other digestive issues, prompt treatment will be vital in preventing the smell from getting worse.

Regular grooming is another important aspect of keeping your cat clean and fresh. Brushing your cat’s fur helps remove any debris that might get stuck. If needed, you can gently wipe your cat’s hindquarters with a moist cloth or pet-safe wipes.

Urinary tract infections are another health issue that could lead to a bad odor. If you suspect your cat has a urinary tract infection (UTI), it’s crucial to take them to the vet for appropriate treatment. Urinary issues can be uncomfortable and even dangerous if left untreated, so timely intervention is a must.

By incorporating these measures into your cat care routine, you’ll have a happy and sweet-smelling feline friend in no time!

How To Keep Your Cat Smelling Clean?

grooming cat

Keeping your cat smelling clean involves a combination of regular grooming and maintaining a clean litter box. By paying attention to these aspects, you can prevent bacteria buildup and minimize grooming difficulties, ensuring your cat stays fresh and healthy.

One of the key steps in maintaining your cat’s cleanliness is brushing their fur regularly. By doing so, you can remove dirt, debris, and loose hair. Brushing also stimulates your cat’s natural oils, which are essential for maintaining healthy skin and fur. Depending on your cat’s fur type, you may need to use a slicker brush, pin brush, or comb; slicker brushes are suitable for cats with long hair, while pin brushes work well for cats with medium to long hair, and combs suit short-haired cats.

When brushing your cat, start from the head and gently work your way down their body, avoiding sensitive areas like their stomach and tail base. Remember to reward your cat with treats or praise to make grooming a delightful experience for both of you!

A clean litter box is another essential aspect of keeping your cat smelling fresh. Regularly scooping out waste and changing cat litter will prevent unpleasant odors from lingering. Staying on top of litter box maintenance will also reduce the chances of your cat accidentally stepping on feces and transferring it onto their fur.

In addition to these tips, always keep an eye on your cat’s overall health and hygiene. Regular visits to the vet will help you identify any potential issues that might be contributing to unpleasant odors, such as bacterial infections or gastrointestinal problems. By addressing these concerns early, you can ensure your cat stays smelling clean and healthy.

What Wipes Are Safe For My Cat?

Wipes can be a convenient way to clean your cat’s fur or skin without using water or soap, especially if they have poop or other stains on them. But what wipes are safe for your cat? Look for unscented, alcohol-free, hypoallergenic, and gentle wipes to ensure your cat’s comfort and safety.

Some great examples of wipes suitable for cats include Burt’s Bees Dander Reducing Wipes, Earthbath Hypoallergenic Grooming Wipes, and Petkin Kitty Wipes. These products are designed to be gentle on your cat’s skin and fur while effectively removing stains and maintaining cleanliness.

When using wipes on your cat, there are a few simple instructions to ensure a positive experience for both of you. Hold your cat gently and use the wipes in the direction of their fur growth. This will help avoid any potential discomfort or fur tangling. Be sure to avoid sensitive areas like their eyes and ears while wiping. Once you’re finished, discard the used wipes in a trash bin.

By choosing the right wipes and using them correctly, you can easily maintain your cat’s fur cleanliness and reduce the likelihood of infections or trips to the vet. So, invest in some cat-safe wipes and enjoy a clean and happy feline friend!

Do Cats Need Baths?

Most cats do not need baths, as they are pretty good at grooming themselves and maintaining their fur and skin cleanliness. However, there might be the rare situation where you may need to give your cat a bath, such as if they have a health problem or if their fur becomes particularly dirty.

Giving your cat a bath can be a tad stressful or even harmful. For instance, using human shampoo or soap may cause irritation and dryness of their coat. So, if you’re up for a feline bath, let’s take a few precautions to make it a safe and comfy experience for both of you!

To bathe your cat safely and effectively, follow these tips:

  1. Use a mild shampoo designed specifically for cats. Avoid using human shampoos, as they may cause harm to your cat’s skin and fur.
  2. Wet your cat with warm—not hot—water, as extreme temperatures can shock and distress your feline friend.
  3. Lather the shampoo gently into your cat’s fur, avoiding the eyes, ears, and nose area. Be careful and gentle during the process.
  4. Rinse your cat thoroughly to remove all shampoo from their coat, as any residue can cause irritation.
  5. Dry your cat with a soft, absorbent towel, and keep them in a warm area until they are completely dry. This will help prevent any potential hypothermia or discomfort.

Remember that it’s essential to remain patient and gentle throughout the bathing process to minimize stress for your cat. With the proper technique and care, you can ensure that your cat remains clean and healthy without causing unnecessary distress or harm.


How do I stop my cat from smelling bad in the future?

To prevent your cat from smelling bad in the future, make sure to keep their litter box clean and well-maintained. Regular grooming can also help reduce odor-causing issues. Keep an eye on their diet, as low-quality food with unnecessary fillers can cause gastrointestinal problems, leading to bad smells.

Is it normal for my old cat to smell like poop?

It’s not typical for an old cat to smell like poop, but it can happen due to age-related factors such as reduced grooming abilities or mobility issues. If your older cat has difficulty grooming itself or reaching certain areas, it might be time to give them a hand in staying clean. Groom your cat regularly, and if the smell persists, talk to your vet about potential health issues.

How do you get dried poop off a cat?

If your cat has dried poop stuck on their fur, you can gently remove it by using warm water and a soft cloth or pet-safe wet wipes. Avoid using human shampoo or soap, as these can be harsh on your cat’s skin. Hold the cloth or wipe against the dried poop for a few minutes to soften it, then gently clean the area. If it’s impossible to remove the dried poop without causing your cat discomfort, consider taking them to a professional groomer or your vet for assistance.

Do Cat Hairballs Smell Like Poop?

Cat hairballs can sometimes smell like poop, especially if your cat has recently cleaned their fur and ingested any fecal matter in the process. Hairballs can also cause gastrointestinal issues, which might contribute to the smell. If your cat frequently produces hairballs that smell like poop, consult your veterinarian about possible causes and solutions.

Do cats lick poop from their fur?

Cats are generally very clean animals and will groom themselves to remove any dirt, including poop, from their fur. However, if your cat smells like poop, it might be a sign that they’re having difficulty grooming themselves, or there might be an underlying health issue that needs to be addressed. Regular grooming and proper litter box maintenance can help keep your cat clean and odor-free.

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